International Phonetic Association IPA

International Phonetic Association (IPA)


an international scholarly organization that concerns itself with the development of phonetics and its various practical applications; in particular, the IPA promotes the phonetic method in the teaching of foreign languages.

The IPA was founded in Paris in 1886 as the Phonetic Teacher’s Association (renamed in 1897). One of the IPA’s principal tasks is the propagation of the most widely known international phonetic alphabet, which is accepted in all textbooks on the phonetics of Western European languages; the alphabet was created in 1888 and revised in 1951.

The IPA publishes the journal Le Maitre phonetique (1886-), in which texts transcribed from various languages of the world and articles on general and specific phonetics are printed; the IPA also issues supplements to the journal—monographs on diverse topics in phonetics. For example, in 1911 an essay by L. V. Shcherba on Russian pronunciation was printed in which the definition of a phoneme as a distinctive sound unit was given for the first time.

The highest organ of the International Phonetic Association is the Council, which consists of representatives of fifteen countries (1970); the president is S. K. Chatterji (India), the secretary is A. Gimson (England). IPA headquarters are located in London. The working languages are French and English.


The Principles of the International Phonetic Association. London, 1949.


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